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Life in the Mississippi: Ceramic Sculpture of Richard Mammel

The Ashby-Hodge Gallery of American Art at Central Methodist College opened a new exhibition featuring the ceramic sculpture of a highly regarded Illinois artist, announced gallery curator Joe Geist.

Titled "Life In The Mississippi: The Ceramic Sculpture of Artist Richard Mammel," the exhibition opened on Jan. 19 and will run through March 6. A reception for the artist was held in the gallery the opening Sunday of the show.

Also being featured during the exhibition are works from the 1940s that are part of the Ashby-Hodge Gallery’s permanent collection.

Mammel says his works "tend to be ceramic figurative narratives, at times metaphorical, at times confrontational. My narratives tend to remind my audiences of our follies, an appeal for us to strive to become what we claim to be, and sometimes alerts to what we are perhaps becoming."

He adds that his ceramic art also reflects on aggression in the form of the destructiveness of wars, emotional damage and "our continued destructiveness toward the environment." These themes take shape primarily in ceramic sculptures, as well as drawings, graphics and sculptures in various media.

The artist was born in Fargo, N.D., in 1945. He completed undergraduate studies in 1967 at Moorhead State University in Minnesota and received his Master of Fine Arts degree in 1970 from the University of Montana, Missoula. While there, he studied ceramic sculpture under the direction of Rudy Autio, often referred to as one of the 20th century’s three 'clay revolutionaries' - Autio, Peter Voulkos and Jim Leedy. Mammel currently is a professor of art at Quincy University, Quincy, Ill., a Franciscan Catholic liberal arts institution.

His art works have been widely displayed at exhibitions throughout the United States for the past 30 years. Many have been purchased by universities, museums, businesses and private collectors. Commissioned works include ceramic sculpture, architectural ceramics, utilitarian ceramics, wood and metal sculptures, painting and drawings.